As I mentioned earlier, I spend most of yesterday working the polls as an election official. It was not, unlike some of my previous experiences, an exciting and fun-filled way to pass fifteen hours. Yesterday's election was, in my locality, a Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor; we were therefore expecting a low turnout. And, expectation fulfilled! It was actually a little busier than we thought it might be; we thought early on we might not break 100 voters, but we ended up with 139.
We also had one guy who took a ballot but didn't use it. Once he realized it was a Democratic Party primary only, he angrily returned it to us unmarked, saying, "I hate that party!" We explained to him that the Virginia Republican Party had decided to forgo an election and instead select its candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general at a state convention last month, but he still wasn't very happy when he left. I personally think it's unfair of him to get mad at us because his party doesn't respect the electoral process, but ultimately the joke's on him: even though he didn't vote, he's in the poll book as having taken a ballot in a Democratic primary, and since those poll books are a matter of public record he's going to be receiving mail from Democratic candidates for the foreseeable future. Tee hee!
The voting in my precinct (that is, the precinct at which I worked, which is neither the precinct in which I live or in which I voted) was similar to what was seen statewide, in that Creigh Deeds won the gubernatorial primary and Jody Wagner was chosen as the candidate for lieutenant governor. Deeds's margin of victory in my precinct was considerably narrower than it was statewide; he took 42.75% of the vote as opposed to his 49.7% statewide. It was Terry McAuliffe who made the difference; he polled slightly more than nine points better in my precinct than statewide, 35.5% to 26.45%. (In the precinct in which I live, McAuliffe won handily with 49.46% of the vote; Deeds came in third with 24.73%, behind Brian Moran's 25.8%. In the Central Absentee Precinct, where I cast my ballot, McAuliffe edged Deeds by three votes and Moran by five.) Wagner's margin in my precinct almost exactly matched her performance statewide, 74.59% to 74.23%.
Deeds will face Republican nominee Bob McDonnell in November. It's a rematch of sorts; in 2005, the same two candidates faced each other in the race for Attorney General. McDonnell won that race by 1/100th of a percent, a margin of 323 votes. In the interim, the Democratic Party has picked up four seats in the House of Delegates and won control of the State Senate, won both U.S. Senate seats, and knocked off two incumbent U.S. House members. And let's not forget that Obama won here, the first time a Democratic candidate has won the state in 44 years, so clearly Deeds has a certain momentum behind him. On the other hand, Virginia has a history of electing governors from the party opposite that which holds the White House, so that may speak well for McDonnell's chances in November. (Though Ed Kilgore of FiveThirtyEight.com doesn't think so.)
In other election news, I hereby declare that June 7 will henceforth be known as Legislate Like a Pirate Day, as it was on that date the Pirate Party of Sweden won a seat in the European Parliament. The Pirate Party, which campaigns on a platform of reforming copyright and patent law and respecting personal privacy, was formed just three years ago but is already the third-largest political party in Sweden in terms of membership. (Though they still hold no seats in the Riksdag.) They picked up 7.1% of the votes in the European Parliament elections held last week, entitling them to one seat in the Swedish delegation. Good on them!